Monday, March 7, 2016

from Pharisee to Jesus Freak

The Word for today:
Matthew 15:21-39
[Today, Stand in the Rain will briefly define the religious factions which Jesus encountered in the gospels. Along with brief technical descriptions of these sects, we will look at Jesus' influence on some of their members.]
Some of the people who read "Stand in the Rain" access it through Facebook. That's why I think Facebook is a Bible teacher's dream! I tip my hat to the little man behind the curtain who operates all the gears and levers that keep Facebook running. Though I've never met him, I count him as a "friend." And I "like" him!
If you go to Facebook and look for my name--Franklyn Pfeil--you'll find a link for "About" near the top of the page. Here are some of my "Abouts":
Jesus Christ. Running. Fishing.
Favorite Music:
Birdsong. The music of the spheres.
Favorite Movies:
Actors don't move me.
Favorite Books:
The Bible. The dictionary.
April 11, 1953
Lockport, NY
Relationship Status:
Married to Shelley Pfeil
Religious Views:
Jesus Freak
Jesus Freak? Well, yeah. It's a phrase that died and came back again!--
"JESUS FREAK--Someone who is so radically committed to Jesus Christ that they're viewed as a cultural misfit. A derogatory term that originated in the 1960's, it was repopularized by the Christian musical group, dc Talk's, 1995 music release, "Jesus Freak." Many Christians now use this label with pride."  (1)
The Pharisees were all about religion. So were the Sadducees, scribes, and Herodians:
Pharisees--The dominant party. Strict fundamentalists and keepers of tradition. Legalists who believed in the Old Testament. Nationalists who wanted to restore the throne to the line of David.
Sadducees—Liberal in theology,they rejected tradition. Denied the supernatural, especially resurrection and the afterlife. They wielded power because they controlled the priesthood. Opposed the Pharisees.
Scribes—Hair-splitters concerned more with the letter of the law than the spirit of scripture.
Herodians—Interested in maintaining Herod’s power on the throne.
The Apostle Paul was a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee (3). He became a Christian and, next to Jesus, the most influential person in history.
Another one of the Pharisees changed so radically that I think of him as the first Jesus Freak. Nicodemus was a cautious, reserved, sophisticated Pharisee who wanted to know who Jesus was. He had a lot to risk by associating with Jesus, so he came to see him one night under the cover of darkness. Jesus immediately began teaching Nicodemus about God's plan for eternal life. "You must be born again," Jesus told him.(4)
Time passed, but the seed Jesus sowed was making its way to the light. On the day Jesus died, when all of his followers were in hiding, Nicodemus suddenly came forth and openly took charge of the burial arrangements, supplying 75 pounds of burial spices--enough for a royal funeral! (5)
It was a reckless and extravagant act, a radical break with his past.  Why, it was as if one man's death had caused another man to be born again as a brand-new person.
(1) "Glossary of Christian Jargon," NIV Starting Point Study Bible, 2002, Zondervan Corporation; (2) Ephesians 5:31-32, quoting Genesis 2:24; (3) Acts 23:6; see Acts 11:26 (4) John 3:1-21; see John 7:45-52; (5) John 19:38-42

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